MELBOURNE — Call it Woeful Wednesday.
Angel of Melbourne, created by Deborah Halpern in 1988
It was the day the Australian Open lost its leading man very unexpectedly – Rafa Nadal. And professional tennis lost one of its most appealing champions. For good, this time – Justine Henin.
Put them together and it was a huge, staggering hit for the game. There would be new champions. Roger Federer would fall to a confident Novak Djokovic (as he did in the U.S. Open semis), and the mysterious Serena didn’t make the starting line. continue reading »
January 27 2011 | Australian Open | 1 Comment »
MELBOURNE – The star of the show did not win.
Face painting, a favorite here.
Yes, she won the crowd of 15,000 at the Australian Open. And she won the praise of her colleagues, foremost among them No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki. But it was time to go home for the Italian pixie, Francesca Schiavone, the end of one of the more adverturous runs at a major title. continue reading »
January 25 2011 | Australian Open | 1 Comment »
MELBOURNE – A couple of very nice young ladies went out to play a game of tennis at Melbourne Park Sunday. They’d done it before. Twelve times over eight years. But they weren’t ready for what happened – something that had never happened in the history of the Australian Open.
AAMI Park, marvelous new arena for football and rugby
They would play, and play, and play. And play some more. Plus quite a bit more – wondering if they would spend their lives on that tennis court. Help! Who would liberate them – Italian Francesca Schiavone and Russian Svetlana “Koozy” Kuznetsova – as the hours and thousands of shots, acrobatics and scintillating rallies went by? continue reading »
January 24 2011 | Australian Open | No Comments »
MELBOURNE – It was inevitable. After only the sixth day the last Australian bodies were carted away, and the once-proud Aussies were once again shut out of their own championship.
Ball kids at the OZ Open
This is hardly news. Chris O’Neill, 1978, and Mark Edmondson, 1976, are the most recent home-grown winners of the Australian Open, and Lleyton Hewitt, 2005, the last finalist. But record crowds (51,276 on Saturday), didn’t seem bothered by domestic failure and the absence of someone capable of emulating the feats of victorious old boys such as Laver, Hoad, Rosewall, Emerson, Newcombe. Or Court and Goolagong. continue reading »
January 23 2011 | Australian Open | No Comments »
“It was a dream,” said Ryan Sweeting.
Bud with Australia's leading and most influential wine critic, Jeremy Oliver
Ryan Sweeting, a tall Floridian who plays tennis for a living – and says he does make a living, $ 164,423 last year – walked onto the blue asphalt court of Rod Laver Arena and looked up and around. People. Everywhere people – 15,000 them. Staring at him. continue reading »
January 20 2011 | Australian Open | 3 Comments »
MELBOURNE — Where have all the Aussies gone? Or the Etruscans and Aztecs for that matter?
CEO of Tennis Australia, Steve Wood, in his office
Lost civilizations that I miss, but maybe the Australian tribe will yet revive and make us remember their might that caused fright, and bite that gave them ownership of the tennis world in the 50s, 60s and a slice of the 70s. Ancient history, I know, a time of wooden weaponry. But whenever another Australian Open rolls around again (as it has on a couple of unseasonably chilly days this week), we Aussiephiles recall the past ruled by greats such as people named Grand Slamming Laver as well as Rosewall, Newcombe, Emerson et al — and hope that a revival is in the making. continue reading »
January 18 2011 | Australian Open | 1 Comment »
Can’t even fully digest 2010 as 2011 springs into view, the 44th year of open tennis – or the 134th year since Wimbledon cranked up the original tournament.
Flying across snowy USA, we leave the cold behind when we arrive in Melbourne
Everybody ready? Probably not. Not enough recuperation time during another ridiculously brief off-season as the years bump together like pigs in a pen. Life on the road resumes, and few are lucky enough to occasionally play at home and eat Mom’s cooking (presuming she knows how to cook). Room service can be forbidding, though Pete Sampras made a pretty fair career on it. continue reading »
January 09 2011 | Australian Open | 6 Comments »
February 16, 2010 marks the 51st birthday of John McEnroe. Here’s his profile as it appears in my book THE BUD COLLINS HISTORY OF TENNIS ($35.95, New Chapter Press, www.NewChapterMedia.com) continue reading »
February 16 2010 | Misc. Articles | No Comments »
MELBOURNE – Rafa Nadal, who has come here as the man to beat, says he likes this city (even though he hasn’t won the title here in four tries). “It is big but calm. Very clean,” he says. It is.
Venus Williams says she likes to drive all over town. Even on the left side of the road, which doesn’t faze her. Gets lost all the time, but works her way back to familiar territory. However, Serena says, “They” – presumably her mother – “won’t let me drive here. I had a bad experience that I won’t talk about.”
Venus did have an accident here, however – a second round collision with a new Spanish model named Carla Suarez Navarro. Even though Venus had a match point, Carla ran through that stop sign to win, 2-6, 6-3, 7-5. This kid is one to watch, particularly on clay – but the blue pavement here didn’t faze her.
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January 25 2009 | Australian Open | 3 Comments »
So why am I huddled in the shade of a tall bush, along with a dozen fellow communicates, some on tip-toes to gain a look over others? We are a few yards from Court 6, but all 600 seats are taken in grandstands on either side, so my fellow bushies and I are are peeping- toms, crammed together, each getting a visual slice of the scene.
Rod Laver Arena
Another Australian Open has begun with Andy Roddick beating the traditional sacrificial lamb in the main ballroom, Swedish qualifier, Bjorn [undoubtedly named for The Bjorn] Rehnquist, 6-0, 6-2, 6-2. Next came No. 1 Jelly Jankovic in kelly green frock and sun tanned bod to do a Viennese waltz past Austrian Yvonne Meusburger, 6-1, 6-3.
Why would I pass them up?
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January 19 2009 | Australian Open | No Comments »